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Title: Who is Guhaka

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-10-25 17:18:00



Dear Swami Gaurangapada, Please accept my warmest regards. I have been reading Shri Nityananda Charitamrita and came upon this passage: ďHe next visited the city of Ayodhya where He cried on seeing the birthplace of Lord Rama. Lord Nityananda visited Candala-Guhakaís kingdom where He fell unconscious. Simply remembering the activities of Candala-Guhaka, Lord Nityananda was in a trance of ecstasy for three days. Seeing the forest where Lord Ramacandra had resided, Lord Nityananda rolled on the ground in separation?.Ē Please, what is meant by the activities of Candala-Guhaka? I do not know what these words mean or the activities they refer to. Thank You, Rohini-suta dasa. More Ľ: ""


Answer by Swami: "http:///" Gaurangapada:

Thankyou for your nice question. Guhaka who is also known as Guha, was an intimate servant of Lords Raam Lakshman and he rendered extraordinary loving service to Lord Raam and Lord Lakshman (Lord Prabhu: "http:///"]Nityananda) when They were going for exile into the forest and also to Lord Bharat when He was suffering in separation from Lord Rama. Lord Nityananda [URL="http:///" His pastimes with Shrila Guhaka in when He came as Lord Lakshman in the pastimes of Lord Ramachandra. That is why he went into divine ecstasy for 3 days thinking about the loving devotional service of Guhaka. Some pastimes of Guhaka from Ramayana are as follows:


Seeing this celestial region, Rama: "http:///"]Rama decided to stop for the night. He took shelter under the branches of a large tree and sat down to offer worship to the Ganges. Sumantra unyoked the horses and allowed them to drink and then roll on the grassy riverbank. The charioteer stood with folded hands near [URL="http:///", who sat peacefully with Sita by His side.

The king of that territory was named Guha, a dear friend of Rama: "http:///"]Rama who ruled over the tribal people known as the Nishadhas. Hearing from his people of Rama?s presence, he immediately went to Him. Guha found Rama by the bank of the Ganges and he stood at a distance, waiting respectfully for his audience. He was overjoyed to find his friend arrived in his kingdom, but his joy was mixed with sorrow at seeing Him dressed as an ascetic. Rama looked up and saw Guha standing there, surrounded by his relations and elderly ministers. Quickly approaching him with Lakshman, He tightly embraced him and they exchanged greetings. Guha spoke to [URL="http:///", whom he had met on many occasions in Ayodhya when going there to pay tribute.

?I am honored by your presence in my kingdom. This land here is as much Yours as it is mine. Indeed, I am Your servant. Only order me and I shall immediately do whatever You wish.?

He showed Rama: "http:///"]Rama the many varieties of food and drink he had brought, as well as the excellent beds he had prepared for them. [URL="http:///" thanked him and said, ?I have been well honored by you today. You should know that I am under a vow to live in the forest as an ascetic. I accept your offerings but allow you to take them back. Please leave only as much as may be taken by My horses. Since these steeds are dear to my father, you will please Me by serving them well.?

Reluctantly, Guha commanded his men to do as Rama: "http:///"]Rama had requested, having the best of food brought for the horses. He watched with sadness and admiration as Rama accepted only water for Himself and then lay down to sleep on a bed of leaves. Lakshman washed [URL="http:///"?s feet and again kept vigil nearby. Going over to Lakshman, Guha said, ?Here is a bed for You. There is no need to remain awake for I shall stand here, bow in hand, and guard You all from danger. There is nothing in these woods unknown to me. Indeed, along with my men I could withstand the attack of a vast and powerful army coming upon this region.?

Guha took Lakshman by the arm and showed Him the bed, but Lakshman politely refused his offer. ?Under your protection we feel not even the least fear, O sinless Guha. But how can I rest while Rama: "http:///"]Rama and Sita lie down on the earth?? Lakshman looked at His brother lying beneath the tree. His mind was troubled. How could one such as Rama, who was capable of withstanding even the gods in battle, be brought to such a state? Lakshman?s thoughts drifted to Ayodhya. He became restless, thinking of His father and the subjects. Surely Dasharatha would soon breathe his last, having sent his dearest son to a life of severe austerity. Probably Kaushalya and the king would die that very night, uttering words of despair and anguish. Losing their beloved monarch after watching [URL="http:///" depart, the people of Ayodhya would be seized with agony after agony.

Engrossed in such thoughts, Lakshman breathed heavily like an infuriated serpent. Hot tears glided down His face. Guha placed an arm around His shoulder and gently reassured Him. As the two men spoke the night gradually slipped away. When dawn broke, Guha arranged for a large rowboat to ferry the princes across the fast-flowing Ganges. The time had arrived to leave the chariot and continue on foot. As the princes fastened on Their armor and weapons, Sumantra humbly approached Them with joined palms and asked for instructions. Rama: "http:///" smiled and said, ?You have rendered Me excellent service, O Sumantra. Please return now to the king?s presence and inform him of Our well-being. We shall now proceed on foot.?


After some days Bharata arrived near Shringavera, where Rama: "http:///"?s friend Guha lived. Halting on the bank of the Ganges, the prince set up camp. Bharata descended from His chariot along with Shatrughna and went down to the riverbank, where He lay down in prostrated obeisance. Along with His brother and Dasharatha?s wives, He offered Ganges water to the king?s departed soul.

Guha had seen Bharata?s approach and said to his counselors, ?This huge army appears like a sea without any shore. I see in the distance a towering banner bearing the emblem of Bharata. Surely He has come here wishing harm to Rama: "http:///".?

Guha thought Bharata intended to kill Rama: "http:///" in order to establish His unchallenged right to the kingdom. Seeing the tremendous number of people accompanying Bharata, he felt fearful.

?I think this prince will either bind us with chains or kill us, finding us entirely devoted to Rama: "http:///"]Rama,? Guha continued. ?Have our men stand ready with weapons and clothed in mail. The boats should each be filled with one hundred warriors and should wait on the other side of the river. [URL="http:///" is our lord and master and we should do whatever is in our power to assist Him.?

Guha decided to go personally to Bharata and discover His purpose. Taking various sweetmeats and fruits as an offering, he went with his chief ministers toward the prince?s tent. As he approached nearby, Sumantra saw him and informed Bharata, ?Here comes the Nishadha king, Guha, accompanied by a thousand of his men. He is Rama: "http:///"]Rama?s friend and he knows well everything about the forest. O noble prince, You should allow him to see You, for he will surely know [URL="http:///"?s whereabouts.?

Bharata immediately gave orders that Guha be shown into His tent. He came before Bharata and humbly bowed down saying, ?This kingdom is Yours, O prince. As Rama: "http:///"?s friend You are my friend and indeed my lord. Be pleased to accept these foodstuffs and please also stay in my house. Allow my men to entertain Your army tonight, and tomorrow You may leave refreshed to accomplish Your purpose.?

Bharata could understand Guha?s mind. He was pleased by his reception and by his devotion to Rama: "http:///". He spoke gently to the Nishadha ruler. ?It is a pleasure to meet you, dear friend of My brother. We are satisfied by your kind hospitality.?

Bharata pointed across the Ganges. ?I heard Rama: "http:///"]Rama went that way, O king, toward Bharadvaja?s hermitage. By which route should we proceed in order to find Him, O king? Should we cross this river or go along its bank?? Guha was apprehensive. He looked down as he replied to Bharata. ?Seeing Your vast army, my mind was filled with fear. I trust that You wish no harm to [URL="http:///". If that is the case, then my ferrymen can take You across the river and show You the way.?

Bharata reassured Guha. ?May the time never come when any wickedness toward Rama: "http:///"]Rama enters My heart. Do not have any doubts about Me, O Guha. I am here to bring back [URL="http:///" to Ayodhya. My glorious brother is as good as My father, and I long to see Him again. Pray point out His whereabouts to Me and I shall go and press His feet to My head.?

Tears sprang to Guha?s eyes as he replied. ?There can be none equal to You on this globe, O jewel among men! Who else could renounce the rulership of the world? Surely Your fame will be everlasting. Rest now for the night and tomorrow I shall make all arrangements.?

Guha took his leave from Bharata and the prince laid down to sleep. Thinking of Rama: "http:///"]Rama, He was seized with sorrow. Perhaps He would not be able to find Him. Many months had passed since Rama had left. Who knows where He might be now? Bharata was unable to sleep. He was oppressed with an agony which weighed upon Him like a heap of rocks. Heaving sighs Bharata tossed around, immersed in thoughts of Rama. Gradually the dawn approached, and as the sun rose Guha returned. The forest king spoke again to Bharata. He described how [URL="http:///" had spent a night there and then, after matting His hair, had left for the deep forest with Lakshman and Sita. Guha indicated the way They had gone.

Hearing how Rama: "http:///"]Rama had matted His hair, Bharata became apprehensive. Surely Rama would not now return. His resolve to remain as an ascetic for fourteen years must be firm. Seized with such thoughts Bharata all of a sudden fell to the ground, saddened at heart. Shatrughna raised His brother, who sat shedding tears. Kaushalya and Sumitra quickly approached Him and spoke comforting words. Bharata recovered His composure and said to Guha, ?Tell me everything about [URL="http:///". What foods did He eat? Where did He sleep? What did He say??

Guha told Bharata how he had offered Rama: "http:///"]Rama many excellent cooked foods, but [URL="http:///" had refused them, saying ?It is never the duty of rulers to accept charity. Indeed, we should always give charity to others.?

Guha explained how Rama: "http:///"]Rama had drunk only water and then had slept upon a bed of grass laid out by Lakshman. Bharata asked to be shown the place where Rama slept and Guha took Him to the foot of the tree where the bed still lay. Seeing it Bharata loudly exclaimed, ?Alas, how could it be that one such as [URL="http:///" should lay down on a bed of grass? He was ever accustomed to sleep at the top of high palaces, in rooms with golden floors spread with the finest rugs. Having always been awoken by the sweet strains of music and song, how is He now roused by the roar of wild beasts??

Bharata lamented at length as the reality of Rama: "http:///"?s exile and ascetic life struck Him. The injustice was insufferable to Bharata and it was made even more excruciating by the thought that He was the cause. His voice was filled with pain. ?This is truly incredible! It cannot be real. Surely I am dreaming. See here the strands of gold left by Sita where She lay on these grasses, Her delicate limbs pressed to the hard ground. I am ruined indeed, for it is on My account that all this has happened!?

Images of Rama: "http:///"]Rama and Sita dressed in forest attire, emaciated due to eating only fruits and roots, filled Bharata?s mind. Beating His head He cried out. ?From this day I shall wear matted locks and tree bark! I shall lay upon the bare earth to sleep and shall eat only simple forest fare.? Bharata became even more determined to find Rama and bring Him back to Ayodhya, staying Himself in the forest in Rama?s place. After spending another night sleeping on the spot where [URL="http:///" had lain, Bharata had the army prepare to leave. Guha brought five hundred large boats equipped with oarsmen and sails. He offered his own personal boat to Bharata and His relatives. Some boats were filled with women, some with horses and others with chariots. As the boats plied across the river the elephants swam with the flags on their backs waving in the breeze. Many of the soldiers also swam while their equipment was carried in the boats.